On May 27th eight of us were treated to a brilliant display of later spring flowers at Harewood Plains in Nanaimo. Our target was to see the red-listed Hosackia pinnata ( formerly Lotus pinnatus) – bog bird’s foot trefoil – and we were not disappointed. The clumps growing in seeps on the rock appear to have been thriving, no doubt largely the result of the work of the “Friends of Harewood Plains” and others. The substantial fine of $50,000 for being caught with an ATV or the like in the area appears to be successful as a deterrent . (The deep gouges made by ATVs and dirt bikes were clearly old.) Apart from the Hosackia there was a splendid array of plants flourishing in the seeps and shaded areas (whatever was exposed on the rock in the open was already tinder dry). Outstanding were the banks of interspersed monkey-flower, sea blush, Menzies larkspur and montia, as well as carpets of Scouler’s popcorn flower, springbank and tomcat clovers, sedums and saxifrages. There was still some lingering camas ( both species) as well as death-camas, native buttercups and the list goes on. So timing was good – the Hosackia was in full bloom, with just a few seed heads starting to form.
On the way north we turned onto the Nanoose peninsula to Moorecroft Park which was pleasantly cool among the large fir, cedar and arbutus. The park includes seashore Garry Oak habitat, which was cordoned off for restoration. The open headlands are supposed to have the native cactus ( Opuntia fragilis) but it eluded us.
As I indicated before I am now fully occupied with the Strathcona Wilderness Institute’s summer programs. There will soon be lots of subalpine spring plants in Paradise Meadows. The marsh-marigolds and kalmia are already in bloom, along with a few shooting stars and the delicate gold thread (Coptis asplenifolia). There will be the SWI “season opener “ walk at Paradise Meadows on Sunday June 16th , exact time TBA. And for the energetic, on July 8th there will be a long day- hike (20 k round trip, with some wet snow) up to Croteau and Circlet Lakes on the Plateau to see the Avalanche lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) . The first of them are just coming into bloom at Croteau (see photo taken on May 29th).
Since many of you are very familiar with the range of flowering plants up at Paradise Meadows, please consider leading a walk for SWI in July or August. The tradition of interpretive Nature walks in Strathcona Park has been associated with CVN members since SWI was founded in 1996; there are a few of us already involved, but SWI always welcomes more botanists, birders etc to help visitors appreciate the natural beauty of Strathcona Park.
Finally, if any of you want to organize an outing, let me know and I can circulate the specifics to the group.
Have a good summer, Alison
On May 6th at Kin Beach Park, six of us including Helen, spent a couple of hours uprooting more of the invasive Lamium galeobdolon (yellow archangel) as well as equally aggressive Aegopodium podagraria (goutweed) under the watchful eye of the archangel goddess, still perched in the bush above. Lunch was somewhat disturbed by the Snowbirds in practice before they were due to leave the Valley. I had thought they were already gone!! Then Helen took some of the group around the Park, to identify the spring flowers still in bloom, including Lomatium nudicaule (Indian consumption plant/barestem desert- parsley) and Delphinium menziesii (Menzies larkspur).
On May 13th eight of us meandered from Salmon Point through the gravel flats to Woodhus slough, with John B. in the lead, noting most of the late spring flowers in bloom. Near the start of the trail Betty pointed out the remnants of a huge bank of Delphinium menziesii (Menzies larkspur) – much of it had been levelled in the development of a residential property. The plants were just coming into bloom – photo 1. And amongst them and spreading along the trail towards the slough was Valerianella locusta – commonly known as corn salad, a garden escapee that seeds itself vigorously – photo 2, from my garden. John pointed out where later in the summer we should be able to see a large array of Spiranthes romanzoffiana (ladies tresses). Outstanding were the numbers of Lomatium nudicaule (Indian consumption plant/barestem desert parsley) all the way to the Slough and beyond. Close in the gravel flats the plants were mixed in with a pink sea of Plectritis congesta (seablush)- photo 3. Other flowers of note included Eriophyllum lanatum (woolly sunflower/Oregon sunshine), Lathyrus japonica (beach pea), Toxicoscordion venenosum ( death camas), Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose) and Lonicera hispidula (hairy honeysuckle) – photo 4.
We then drove on to the Oyster Bay Shoreline Protection Park, primarily to see the red-listed Balsamorhiza deltoidea (deltoid balsamroot) in bloom. The largest clump, somewhat protected from view by the low spreading branches of a Douglas fir, is flourishing happily – photo 5. Unfortunately, one of the plants out in the open had been dug up, while the blooms had been cut from another. We should have a sign made to inform the public that these plants are rare and should be left untouched. When the OB Shoreline Protection Society came to an end, CVN did receive a portion of its remaining funds, so we as a group could ask the executive for funds towards a sign and approach the SRD with a proposal to place a sign in the park.